Developers, who are constantly working on their games, need reliable gaming animation software to begin showcasing their skills. There are many software available on the web, yet Source Filmmaker is by far the best one. It allows users to incorporate maps, models, and other items from sfm workshop in their game. A brief introduction and a closer look at the benefits and cons of using Source Filmmaker are discussed below.

What is Source Filmmaker?

Source Filmmaker is a video animation software developed and published by the Valve Corporation. It was first launched in 2012 and is often abbreviated as SFM. Source Filmmaker helps users to create their 3D animated movies by using its platform and resources. It is completely free to use and can be downloaded by anyone from Steam’s website. All users need is an account with Steam, which is also free to create.

Source Filmmaker works smoothly with Windows 7 and Windows Vista (64 bit). Additionally, it also requires a minimum hardware capacity of 15 GB and 4GB memory. With the system requirements met and a free account, users can easily visit the Steam website, search for Source Filmmaker, and then download it from there.

How Does Source Film Maker Work?

Once it has been downloaded, the Source Filmmaker software needs to be launched. After it has been launched, follow the step by step guide below, which highlights how to create short films with Source Filmmaker.

  1. Select the ‘Session’: Post launching, an interactive windowpane shows on the screen. It asks users to either create a new ‘session,’ open up a recent ‘session’ or browse for an existing ‘session’ from their hard drive. A ‘session’ is the project that users were either previously or currently working on. Users can select any one of the three choices presented to them. However, newbies need to create a new session from scratch and thus select the create option.
  2. Know Your Windows of Operation: After selecting the create option, three integrated windows appear on users’ screens. The left grey window with drop-down menus is called the animation set editor.

The middle window with black background is called primary viewport.

The windowpane under primary viewport, which is horizontal in direction, is called the TimeLine.

Animation Set Editor shows you various options for editing your video whereas the TimeLine shows the time-lapse your video has covered. Primary View Port allows you to view your creation from various angles such as the first person’s angle and third person’s angle etc. In short, you can say that the TimeLine controls time, Primary View Port controls to view, and Animation Set Editor controls editing, motion, and introduction of characters into the movie.

Working with the Primary ViewPort:

Loading Map: Initially, every primary viewport will show a message ‘no map loaded.’ There is nothing to worry about; there isn’t anything wrong with your window. The window shows this message because it needs a background map to begin working on it, and since you haven’t started working on your video, this message appears.

To begin working with this window, move your cursor over it and right-click. A list of options appears. You must select ‘load map’. After you have selected the ‘load map’ option, another list appears. This list consists of numerous maps. You can choose any one of them, and you can even search the options by using the filters provided. Once you have selected the map of your choice, you will have to wait for a few seconds for it to load.

  1. Selecting Camera: After the map loads, you need to select a camera. For this, you will have to click on the ‘No camera’ button situated at the bottom right corner just above the ‘Time Line.’ A drop-down arrow appears beside it, click on that, and the menu opens. Now select the ‘change scene camera.’ This opens up another option, select new camera. As you do this, you will see that the words ‘camera1’ appear on the ‘No Camera’ button. You are now ready to use your cameras.
  2. To animate other objects in the video, users can switch to ‘work camera’ by holding the control key and pressing the camera button simultaneously. To switch back to the scene camera, users can just toggle between the two by clicking on the camera button. The control key with left click helps in copying the components of the work camera to an active screen camera. To record a movie, users need to hit the record button on the window pane.
  3. Using the TimeLine: Using the timeline is easy. Users can control it with the arrowheads provided or just hold the time-lapse showing rectangle and move it forward and backward. Users can also use the timeline to enter and exit clip editor, motion editor, and graph editor.
  4. Using the Animation Set Editor: Users can use the animation set editor and copy, paste, delete, add shots, edit, introduce sound, etc. into the movie.

All the videos created are stored on Source Filmmaker’s portal under the name, ‘session.’ In order to save a video, users need to press Ctrl+S. Users can move the camera forward, backward, left, right, upward, downward and roll it by holding down the respective keyboard keys. Users can also slow down camera speed, zoom in zoom out and orbit the camera too.

What is SFM Workshop?

SFM workshop is the Steam’s workshop for Source Filmmaker software. It consists of more than 6000 resources such as maps, models, objects, cameras, lights, animations, particles, and sound effects. Users can either use the SFM workshop resources or import their stuff. From maps to characters, sound effects to everything. The workshop has dedicated guides and tutorials about recording the short film.

Comparing with Other Video animation Software

When compared to other video animation software, Source Filmmaker is better because it is free and works with all kinds of games. However, it cannot be run on different operating systems such as iOS and Linux, etc.


In summation, Source Filmmaker is a good video animation software, especially for newbie developers who are just learning and exploring their skillsets.